Equal parts car show, vintage racing festival, and exploration of the limits you can go to at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the Velocity Invitational is among the best automotive events I have ever attended. That doesn’t come with caveats or equivocations, this is seriously an incredible high-level event that brings together some of the most exciting vintage and new cars in the world. And when you think exciting vintage racers, you know Porsche is going to be involved in that list. I’ve been to this event twice, once before when it was called the Sonoma Speed Festival up at Sears Point, and last year at the inaugural Velocity Invitational when it moved to Laguna Seca. I’ll be going back this year, despite moving across the country, because it’s definitely worth the flight.
Basically every major Porsche race car to ever have been built, from 917 to 356 Speedster are there to duke it out on the track for the enjoyment of all gathered. There are rare pieces from decades gone by that you’ve probably never seen before, and might not even know exist. You can’t turn a corner without seeing something else that will make your eyes bulge out of your head like a wolf in a 1950s childrens’ cartoon. From 1948 to today, Porsche has always been involved in motorsport, and it stands to reason that a motorsport festival celebrating history might have a few of them around, but this is next-level delivery.
The on-track racing is elevated because they light the corners and run races well into the evening loaming. The off-track displays are elevated, because this event isn’t just about race cars. Last year the display included several dozen Ford GTs and prototypes, a collection of McLaren Speedtails, as many 917s as you’ve ever seen before, and the high-end hot rod collection of rocker James Hetfield. And unlike pretty much every track event you’ve ever been to, this one has dozens of delicious food options, incredible facilities, clean bathrooms, and oh so much delicious NorCal wine. Just go, you’ll see how awesome it is.
And it isn’t just Porsches either. It’s the people as much as the cars that really make this event as exciting as can be. The McLaren Formula One team is involved, bringing some retired F1 cars and modern F1 and IndyCar drivers to shoot for lap records and generally have a good time. Porsche factory ace Patrick Long will be there, fresh off running Luft 8 to what I’m sure will be a success, to hoon some of his famous race cars and street cars around. Racer and writer, and one of my heroes, Johannes Van Overbeek will be there. Surely you’ll see some incredible cars from the Revs Institute with Gunnar Jeanette at the wheel. It’s truly a festival for all! See you there?